Books. You can never have too many books. Whether hardback, paperback or digital, books are my concept of what the ancient Greeks envision as ambrosia. Recently a category of books has gained popularity, the audio book. Audio books can give the reader more than just the written word.
I began listening to audio books when my children were quite young. It was an excellent way to introduce them to literature that they were not quite ready to read on their own. We listened to Treasure Island and Jane Erye. Two of the children's favorites were by Avi; Crispin: the Cross of Lead and True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle.
I found audio books were great for long trips. Rosemary Sutcliffe's Black Ships Before Troy: The Story of the Iliad and The Wanderings of Odysseus introduced us to Homer's epics and got us to Niagara Falls and back with our sanity intact. For a long trip to North Carolina we took Edward Bloor's Tangerine. We took another book which has become one of our ultimate favorites, The Hobbit.
The Hobbit is an excellent example of how the choice of a narrator can make or break an audio book. The narrator of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy is Rob Inglis. Do accept any substitutes. Mr. Inglis literally brings the story to life. Each character's voice is distinct. Each emotion is recognizable.
If you have not experienced audio books yet, check out your local library. The York County Library System has many classics, best sellers, fiction and non-fiction as mp3 cds. They can be played in your car, on your laptop or boombox. The library system also has the Overdrive system (https://www.overdrive.com/). Overdrive allows you to check out digital content, ebooks and audio books, and download them directly to your electronic devices, like an iPad. Using the library is an excellent way to test out audio books without cost.
An excellent source of free audio books appears each summer is the Sync Audio Book program (http://www.audiobooksync.com/) . Each week two free audio books are offered, one young adult literature and one classic. Available through July 23, 2014 is The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline by Nancy Springer and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes II by Arthur Conan Doyle. The Sync program is a wonderful way to add to your audio book library. Make sure you sign up to be notified as books are released, both this summer and next.
Upcoming blog will detail options for purchasing audio books as well as reviews of audio books I have listened to. In the meantime, why not try Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird read by Sissy Spacek?